Radiation Therapy Treatment Process
- First treatment
- Daily treatment
When you arrive at our Department of Radiation Oncology, you will be greeted by our receptionist. She will present one of our physicians with any films or reports that you may have brought with you. She will also guide you to the consultation room.
In the consultation room, our physician will spend all the time necessary (maybe between 1- 1.5 hours) to make sure that the rationale, logistics, benefits, and potential side effects of the prescribed radiation therapy are thoroughly discussed. The primary goal of this consultation is to make sure that all of your questions are answered fully.
Lastly, our physician will examine you. Once the exam is completed, you will be given an appointment for a “treatment planning session” or simulation.
Simulation is the procedure required to accurately deliver radiation to the requisite tissue. It is a time used to customize the radiation fields to ensure conformal coverage of the requisite tumor. This is typically performed under the guidance of a CT scanner which allows a direct visualization of the tumor or tumor resection cavity. A therapist will position you in a comfortable position and may also make immobilization devices to minimize movement. This session will typically last for 1 hour. After the mapping if completed, a few small permanent tattoo marks may be placed on skin. The entire procedure is painless.
After simulation, our therapist will also construct a treatment schedule specifying the times and dates of daily treatments.
Typically, our department treats patients from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Each treatment will last 20 minutes. Before treatments, localization images may be taken to confirm your positioning and our treatment beam configuration. You may hear and see the radiation machine move around you during your treatment. This is completely normal. Once again, the treatments will be painless.
At least once a week, you will meet with a physician to discuss any side effects or questions that you may have. You will also meet with our nurses on a regular basis. At your request, a dietician may also be available to advise you about specific dietary issues.
Congratulations! You have finished your radiation treatments. Your radiation oncologist will continue to see you on a regular basis. Typically, the first follow-up appointment will occur within 4-6 weeks. Subsequently, the frequency of visits will be determined by your radiation oncologist. Most importantly, our staff will always be available at any time to meet with you if you should any issues arise.